Trinidad Market Girl – A New Painting

I thought I’d hate the fumes. I don’t. What really happened is that I transported myself back to my days as an art student at Parsons School of Design in NYC.

I’d forgotten how the smell of linseed oil evoked the small, airless room we painted in, feeling a little bohemian and maybe a little bit goofy after 5 hours of breathing in turps.

I’d had this reference photo of a Trinidad Market Girl and wanted to rough out a sketch first, to get scale and placement. Sketching gets me familiar with the subject.

This is an 8X10 linen canvas that I tinted first, and visible are the bisecting lines in pink to make sure I didn’t truncate her head or her arms. You know how that goes- huge head, tiny body.

I need to pitch a big thank you to two great blog mate painters who are always eager to share information and very generously.

Linda Blondheim– a superb painter of Florida landscapes whose posts include textbooks worth of painting tips. You’d think she was getting paid to do it.

And Nancy Moskovitz who is also a terrific Florida painter in both oils and acrylics, for sharing painting tips and a great heads up on increasing your hits on your blog by selecting the right titles- read more about it here at Empty Easel.

Getting my Photoshop toes in the water and playing with values lets me look as I go, with a dispassionate eye. Being artists, we’re supposed to be passionate. We can trip over our own damn egos and toes if we’re not careful. I fiddled around to get this in shades of grey- thought it looked pretty good.

It’s a real discipline for me to get un-disciplined. I went for loose and sassy. Did I make it?

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43 Responses to “Trinidad Market Girl – A New Painting”

  1. Reggie Says:

    Yes you did. I shall drink a Carib now!

  2. ted Says:

    It’s Gorgeous!!

  3. bonnieluria Says:

    Reggie- bottoms up and tops down. I’m referring to your car.

  4. Carol King Says:

    I love her! She’s great!

  5. Marian Fortunati Says:

    Oh you SOmade it!! I really like her loose and sassy.

    I also enjoyed your thoughts as you worked through it. Do you think the gray-scale using Photoshop helped?? Did you make changes after you did that or were you just checking??

  6. bonnieluria Says:

    Marian- thanks so much for the kind words.
    Good questions- now that I found that feature ( you know how you stumble around with drop down menus and suddenly an effect pops up and you think- hmmm…that’s useful ?), I’m going to shoot photos as I go and view them to have a better look.
    This was done after the fact.
    It’s a good tool.
    I didn’t want to overdo the painting- sometimes you gotta let it go..

  7. Linda Blondheim Says:

    Bonnie,
    So kind of you to mention me. I love the Market painting and your life seems so wonderfully exotic compared to mine.
    Love,
    Linda

  8. bonnieluria Says:

    Linda- that means a lot to me. Nah, not exotic-Your devotion to your art is exotic to ME.

    You’re amazing.

  9. Nava Says:

    In my humble (yet quite opinionated) opinion – you sure did.

    This one has great attitude, looseness, attitude, color, attitude and all. Did I mention attitude?

    I love that you did not linger on the texture of the hat – now that’s a nice undisciplined!

    She so reminds me of the reprimanding (on the verge of violently angry) looks I got when I tried to snap some photos at the market in Grenada. Thanks the memories.

  10. Nava Says:

    Y’know, it really hurts that we, the unwashed masses from blogspot, do not get to have our photos featured when we leave our profound comments on the highly esteemed WordPress.

    :-&

  11. Paz Says:

    You made it. 😉 Love the sketch and the painting. Beautiful. And I love the colors.

    Paz

  12. bonnieluria Says:

    Nava and Nava- you know it’s funny you said what you did about the hat. I decided to squint and go for blocks and not get chicken picking in the details. It would have driven me crazy, and really would have been a distraction.
    I thought about that at the beginning- so glad you noticed it. Or noticed what wasn’t!

    Is there a photo on your blog- I’ll go have a look and remember that instead of the ubiquitous tile pattern they assigned you.
    Thanks for the great comments.

    Paz- really, I’m always thrilled when the thumbs come back up and not down.
    Thanks so much. Glad you’re feeling better.

  13. w1kkp Says:

    The non-painter speaks:

    With a hat like that, you better have a sassy attitude, girlfriend–(finger snap in air).

    And, you totally gave her that, even more than in the original I think!

    Now, I have questions. I’m not clear on how you used Photoshop. Did you paint the whole canvas first, then photograph it and use the grayscale of Photoshop to assess it’s values?

    Do you use an ordinary piece of linen, dye it and then fix it to a canvas? Beginner questions but inquiring minds need to know.

  14. bonnieluria Says:

    Pat- you are no neophyte – your questions prove it. I did the greyscale photoshop most accidentally. It happened after I cropped and adjusted the final painting. That’s when I realized for future use, it would be a great tool to use in process to see where I might use more lights and darks.

    I buy linen canvas board pre-made. Some artists make their own by buying the linen by the yard and adhering it to masonite. I’m not there yet and living here means much of what I use has to be ordered.
    You can also use stretched canvas, but that gets more costly, ( you can do those yourself too but for me, that will come later- right now I want to just pick up a panel and go.)
    Another reason painters use panels and not stretchers is if they paint outside- The panels affix to the outdoor easels and are easier to travel with.

    The tint of the linen starts as an intentional means of removing the stark whiteness from the canvas.
    It’s a wash of ultramarine blue mixed with any deep red or brown, turp and just paint, wait a minute and wipe down with a paper towel dipped in a little bit of turp.
    That stark white is not appealing for two reasons:
    if it shows through the painting, it’s too blatant. And a good painting needn’t have every millimeter filled in.
    Second- it sets a mid value for your base- so some colors like white can be the lightest. What is lighter than white, so if you START with white as a background, you can’t get any lighter.
    Does any of this make sense to you?

    Keep asking questions- I’ll be doing the same of you. I just bought a new camera ( you’ve inspired ME) after umpteen years and can’t wait to use it. I get it tomorrow.
    Canon G9. Small, great quality, practical enough that I’ll actually take it out with me!

    So there you go- Ping Pong, Western version.

  15. w1kkp Says:

    And, it has a macro feature!! I was thinking of asking if your could photograph your paintings, or pieces of them, in “macro” so one could really see the brush strokes!!

    Thanks for all this glorious detail of answer to my comment. Every little bit helps.

  16. bonnieluria Says:

    Pat- for you, so you don’t have to wait for my camera to arrive and get figured out:

    To see amazing brush work macro style, go have a gander at one of my favorite painters’ blog:
    Frank Gardner in Mexico-
    http://frankgardner.blogspot.com/2008/08/sitting-on-top.html

    Click on this image in his most recent post and it will show up in close up. You’ll be dazzled by his technique and realize that so much is not what it seems from afar.

  17. wrjones Says:

    I really like the sketch and the loose brush work and bright colors of the painting.

    I love the smell of linseed oil, and oil primed linen, and Gamsol. They remind me of grandma’s house and winter evenings in Iowa with paint by number sets.

  18. S. Le Says:

    Brilliant! Excellent! Brava!

  19. bonnieluria Says:

    Bill- thanks, the bright colors ( although try as I might could not adjust them to my liking on the upload so it’s really somewhat more muted ) are a departure for me- I’ve usually worked in more subdued, less multi range, but it works in this one.
    Did grandma paint too?

    Smells can transport you back in a quick minute.

    S.Le- ye of diminutive name and big praise! Thanks so much and thanks for coming back again.

  20. planetross Says:

    No technical questions from me.

    Looks great! Well done 🙂

    note: I agree with S. Le

  21. bonnieluria Says:

    Cheeseman- u r ok in my bk.
    That’s in response to your recent post, which is so crazy funny I don’t even know how to comment there.
    You made it easy for me now to do it here.

  22. Nancy Moskovitz Says:

    I love this painting. It’s filled with energy and motion from your strokes. The surprise colors in the chin area top it off.
    Thank you for introducing me to Frank Gardner’s work and for introducing more folks to my work.
    Would that I could leave blocks. Maybe someday.

  23. bonnieluria Says:

    Nancy- if you only knew how much it means to me that you love it. So much doubting ones’ self in a new form…..
    I think I’m working past it.

    Franks’ work is incredible- and if you click on the small paintings, you’ll see the close up version.
    The energy, looseness and fun that he presents is marvelous.

    This is such a great venue for all of us, in different places, having connections we’d otherwise never know.

  24. Frank Gardner Says:

    Well, yes, SASSY it is.
    Very nice and loose. Love how you edited out so much to keep it loose.

    I am blushing at the mentions here in the comment section. Thanks for that!

    About the fumes, at least we live in a place that we can paint with the windows wide open. I used to get pretty silly back in art school in the northeast, in winter time, with all the windows closed.

  25. bonnieluria Says:

    Frank- a sassy assessment from you is all the propulsion I need.
    Means a great deal to me.

    Know what you mean about the open windows, and lots of them. I know that has a lot to do with not being overwhelmed. And it’s just me- not a class of 15.

    I find myself sniffing my hands after I’ve washed, cleaned brushes, the paint smell still lingering, and…….breathing it in. And smiling.
    It’s a mighty fine smell.

  26. David Says:

    She might be one of my favorites. You captured something special. She looks right into your soul. I love the mix of blues.

  27. bonnieluria Says:

    David- thanks for visiting- and I know how much you appreciate colors! Glad you like her- she was an early experiment.

  28. carolking Says:

    Bonnie, I just went to re-read your blog and look at your loose and sassy girl again and saw that you had 27 comments. 27 COMMENTS????!!!!!! I don’t think 27 people have ever looked at my blog.

    You are an impressive painter and an impressive blogger! Wow.

    Carol

  29. bonnieluria Says:

    Sheeesh, Carol, but did you see that I represent half of my audience?!!!
    Awww. thanks, though..I really appreciate the words.
    And it’s not quantity- it’s quality, and you had wrjones right from the beginning!!

  30. Jo-Ann Says:

    She’s great, Bonnie! Wonderful, sassy, and if the smell of the oils makes you feel like a college kid, go for it!

  31. berryberr Says:

    Lovely blog! Will check back often!

  32. bonnieluria Says:

    Jo-Ann, I so appreciate your cheer. I’m really enjoying the journey of a new medium and that nostalgia factor isn’t half bad either.
    Thanks for taking the time to visit!

  33. nathaliewithanh Says:

    You’re the absolute BOMB!!! Why do I keep missing your posts? Every time, I take a day off, you post something. Maybe if I went on vacation, you’d stop slacking off.
    I love that one. For all the above cited reasons and then some (that I cannot quite put into words.) I hope you keep that one. Maybe my favorite. A tie with the Water Bearer. Lovely.

  34. bonnieluria Says:

    Nathalie- I know you’re checking and have high expectations of me. I’m blogging as fast as I can.

    A tie with the Water Bearer- that tells me I’m on the right track.
    Thanks for that.

    Loved your recent addition ( and you were overdue, sistah !)

  35. Dar Says:

    In case you don’t believe it yet, this is a fantastic work!
    Happy belated birthday. Thanks for sharing Joe Cocker..I laughed, I cried, I peed my pants.

  36. bonnieluria Says:

    Dar- I did a little laughing in recognition as I read your blog too.
    The hydrangea hyperventilating is so familiar.
    You’re well on your way to not saying you’re a beginner.
    Your work is wonderful as are the song titles you add.
    Thanks for visiting and leaving a trace.

    Be encouraged and keep reading all the good blogs out there- so many great folks share. Some also make you laugh.
    It’s all good.

  37. David Lobenberg Says:

    Bright and loosey goosey…I like it, Bonnie. Do some more!

  38. bonnieluria Says:

    David- thanks for the encouragement and for not chastising me for my traitorous pursuits.

    I find the looseness is a good lesson for me- I squint, to find blocks of form instead of eyelashes, and because I can’t go over as you can with acrylics, I have to have more brio in just putting down a stroke!

    More to come, for sure.
    I have to amortize the $2,985.23 that I spent on supplies. Me and wrjones and his TV.
    We are a pair, no?

  39. razzbuffnik Says:

    The painting is nice and loose. With the photoshop you might want to check out what the levels do (not the auto-levels).

  40. bonnieluria Says:

    Thanks Razz- I almost never use the auto levels as they’re too stark a change.
    My background as a textile designer taught me to sharpen my eye to the nuance of color shading. Somehow the elements of Photoshop don’t quite get it.
    I do play with it and yeow, there’s so much to learn about its’ properties, I doubt I’ll know half of it.
    Thanks for the tip.

  41. Sharon Crute Says:

    Turps and related solvents are more aromatic than roses to me!

    Your painting is sumptuous. Brushstrokes are fluidly erotic. Do you not resist the urge to taste your oils before embarking on a painting session? Yum.

  42. bonnieluria Says:

    Sharon- you so nailed it!
    About the fragrance that is. When I had first considered oils et al, a dear friend in Berlin had encouraged me by saying- just open the tubes and smear then on your body and tell me you don’t want to use them…..
    I see what he meant and now I understand. I sniff my hands during lunch break.

    I’m really glad you find her so appealing. It makes me want to do more.
    Thanks for checking on me.
    Wishing you a safe summer in Florida- we watch for the same things…..

  43. Mary Sheehan Winn Says:

    I think you did 😉

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